Rothwell, Kirstie (2016) Fertility treatment among ‘older’ women: a qualitative review’. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The emergence of fertility treatments has not only given some infertile women the ability to have a biological child; they have also given women more choice regarding their reproductive timing. The recent ‘trend’ to ‘delay’ motherhood has increased the demand for infertility services. However, the increase in ‘older mothers’ (women who begin their families at or over the age of thirty-five) who access fertility treatments has caused concern for health professionals. Informed by a phenomenological epistemology which was guided by a feminist viewpoint, this research explored the views and ‘lived experiences’ of women over the age of thirty-five who access fertility treatments. Contemporary literature predominantly focuses on the medical implications of fertility treatments and does not take into account the context in which the social experience takes place, or the meaning that people assign to this experience. Therefore the central aim of this research was to increase understanding of ‘older’ women’s motivations for utilising fertility treatments and to examine these women’s lived experiences of undergoing treatment to have a child. The research objectives were to explore why women over thirty-five consider fertility treatments; to investigate women’s views on fertility treatments; and to locate the findings in context of discourses of contemporary motherhood. In order to address these, a qualitative methodology was applied.
Methods included in-depth telephone interviews to investigate the perceptions of ten women aged thirty-five and over, who accessed fertility treatments to support conception. The use of semi-structured interviews allowed the participants to discuss their experiences and express their views in-depth, thereby providing the opportunity to explore and understand the topic from a unique stance.
Fertility treatments used by ‘older’ women are often viewed as negative. A ‘selfish’ label may be applied to the women, as it is presumed that they are responsible for ‘choosing’ to delay motherhood and increasing risk to themselves and their unborn child. However, the ‘older’ mothers in this study did not identify with this representation, as none of them postponed motherhood by choice. This research captures an in-depth understanding of ‘older’ women’s who view assisted reproductive technologies very highly. Cultural and gender expectations which are underpinned by pronatalism, influenced the women’s decision to have treatments. Significantly, the study makes a contribution to current literature surrounding the motivations, experiences and perceptions of women over thirty-five who undergo fertility treatments.

Final thesis - ROTHWELL.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email